Gender-specific cardiovascular reactions to +GZ interval training on a short arm human centrifuge

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Cardiovascular deconditioning occurs in astronauts during microgravity exposure, and may lead to post-flight orthostatic intolerance, which is more prevalent in women than men. Intermittent artificial gravity is a potential countermeasure, which can effectively train the cardiovascular mechanisms responsible for maintaining orthostatic integrity. Since cardiovascular responses may differ between women and men during gravitational challenges, information regarding gender specific responses during intermittent artificial gravity exposure plays a crucial role in countermeasure strategies. This study implemented a +Gz interval training protocol using a ground based short arm human centrifuge, in order to assess its effectiveness in stimulating the components of orthostatic integrity, such as diastolic blood pressure, heart rate and vascular resistance amongst both genders. Twenty-eight participants (12 men/16 women) underwent a two-round graded +1/2/1 Gz profile, with each +Gz phase lasting 4 min. Cardiovascular parameters from each phase (averaged last 60 sec) were analyzed for significant changes with respect to baseline values. Twelve men and eleven women completed the session without interruption, while five women experienced an orthostatic event. These women had a significantly greater height and baseline mean arterial pressure than their counterparts. Throughout the +Gz interval session, women who completed the session exhibited significant increases in heart rate and systemic vascular resistance index throughout all +Gz phases, while exhibiting increases in diastolic blood pressure during several +Gz phases. Men expressed significant increases from baseline in diastolic blood pressure throughout the session with heart rate increases during the +2Gz phases, while no significant changes in vascular resistance were recorded. Furthermore, women exhibited non-significantly higher heart rates over men during all phases of +Gz. Based on these findings, this protocol proved to consistently stimulate the cardiovascular systems involved in orthostatic integrity to a larger extent amongst women than men. Thus the +Gz gradients used for this interval protocol may be beneficial for women as a countermeasure against microgravity induced cardiovascular deconditioning, whereas men may require higher +Gz gradients. Lastly, this study indicates that gender specific cardiovascular reactions are apparent during graded +Gz exposure while no significant differences regarding cardiovascular responses were found between women and men during intermittent artificial gravity training.




Masatli, Z., Nordine, M., Maggioni, M. A., Mendt, S., Hilmer, B., Brauns, K., … Opatz, O. S. (2018). Gender-specific cardiovascular reactions to +GZ interval training on a short arm human centrifuge. Frontiers in Physiology, 9.

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